Make-Ahead Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Find healthy Thanksgiving side dishes to make ahead including cranberry, mashed potato, squash and green bean recipes.

Staff Picks

Sautéed Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Onions

Rating: Unrated
11
Fresh herbs, onion and bacon sauté alongside Brussels sprouts in this easy vegetable side dish recipe. This savory dish is delicious in the fall and winter months, when Brussels sprouts are in season. If you can find them still attached to the stalk, don't be intimidated--buy them, as they're likely more fresh. Recipe adapted from The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters.

Maple-Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Rating: Unrated
41
In this easy vegetable side dish recipe, sweet potatoes are tossed with maple syrup, butter and lemon juice and are roasted until tender and golden brown. The delicious glaze that forms on these maple-roasted sweet potatoes transform this ultra-simple dish into something sublime.

Hasselback Potatoes with Cheese

Hasselback potatoes are the perfect side dish for people who love crispy potato-chip-like slices as well as the tender interior of a baked potato. Simple to prepare, these hasselback potatoes look impressive and decadent with melted Cheddar cheese and a sprinkle of paprika on top.

Steamed Butternut Squash

Rating: Unrated
1
Butternut squash steams quickly, making this a great cooking technique to enjoy this fall vegetable as a weeknight side dish. For extra flavor, toss the steamed butternut squash with salt, pepper and a little bit of olive oil, butter or Parmesan cheese after cooking.

Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic & Parsley

Rating: Unrated
23
Winter squash becomes tender and sweeter when roasted--a delicious side for a holiday dinner. Look for interesting squash like kabocha or hubbard at your farmers' market and try them in this recipe. Recipe adapted from Alice Waters.

Sautéed Butternut Squash

Sautéeing butternut squash in olive oil quickly yields perfectly cooked results and slighly caramelizes the squash for extra flavor. This recipe makes a delicious vegetable side dish to pair with roasted meats.

Loaded Scalloped Potatoes with Bacon, Cheddar & Chives

Rating: Unrated
1
Imagine a loaded baked potato topped with bacon, Cheddar and chives combined with the creamy goodness of scalloped potatoes, and you have the ultimate comfort food casserole. This scalloped potato recipe is made healthier than original versions by using low-fat milk in place of heavy cream, but it still tastes just as rich and creamy.

Parmesan Scalloped Potatoes with Spinach

Rating: Unrated
1
Classic scalloped potatoes get a burst of color, heartier texture and a healthy update with the addition of chopped spinach. The greens in this side dish also create a nice contrast to the creamy, velvety potatoes.

No-Sugar-Added Sweet Potato Casserole

Instead of loading up this comfort food side with tons of brown sugar and marshmallows, we have turned to sweet spices, vanilla and inherently sweet dried fruit to enhance the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes. A topping of pecans and pepitas replaces traditional marshmallow topping to keep it healthy and add texture and color for a beautiful casserole.

Cauliflower Casserole with Mixed-Seed Crust

Rating: Unrated
1
The cheesy-seedy crust that tops this healthy cauliflower casserole recipe evokes everything bagels. Serve for the holidays or as a hearty side dish with roast chicken.

Winter Salad with Toasted Walnuts

This salad was one of the favorites chosen from over 1,000 salad recipes for our 30th anniversary issue. In 2004, Deborah Madison waxed poetic about winter ingredients, particularly nuts. “In the chill air of winter, nuts move up to center stage as do their warming, substantial, golden oils--so good with winter salad greens and vegetables, such as shaved fennel, all of which are likely to end up in a salad together,” she says. Madison suggested using a mix of lettuces that balance each other here--a mild, tender variety, such as Boston, with a more intense and sturdy green, such as escarole, for instance.

Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Rating: Unrated
1
If you're looking for a twist on classic scalloped potatoes, this recipe using roasted sweet potatoes and melty Gruyère has all the creaminess of the original with a new flavor twist. The sweet potatoes and lightened sauce--made with flour and low-fat milk--keep it healthier than butter- and cream-laden versions. Don't cut your sweet potatoes too thin--they'll turn mushy under the sauce.

Inspiration and Ideas

Cornbread & Oyster-Mushroom Stuffing

This stuffing is perfect to bake a day or two in advance so it has time to dry out a bit, which lets it absorb the flavors more readily.

Make-Ahead Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Cut down on Thanksgiving Day craziness and free up space in your oven by making some dishes ahead of time. From Green Bean Casserole to Scalloped Potatoes, all of these classic Thanksgiving side dishes come with tips to prep them ahead of time. A quick reheat is all they’ll need before making their way to your dinner table.

"Use a Spoon" Chopped Salad

Rating: Unrated
13

When Paul Newman and Michel Nischan opened their Westport, Connecticut, restaurant Dressing Room, Paul's request was that the menu always include a chopped salad that you could eat with a spoon. This chopped salad recipe is full of great flavors, colors and textures, featuring celery, carrots, red pepper, apple, cucumber, greens, cabbage, goat cheese and almonds. This is great for any holiday meal: you can let it stand and it stays crisp.